Over the Mayday bank holiday we went wild camping. By wild camping, read “half a mile from the road, 45 minutes on foot from the car park, no running water and only a composting toilet.”
Were we mad?
I don’t think so and I’d add that we booked the camp site. Not a pitch on the camp site, the whole damn camp site, for thirty something quid a night. It can take up to 40 people (probably, I just made that number up) and it’s even better if there are only ten of you, including 6 kids.
I had a weekend of drinking, relaxing and outdoor craft in mind, most of which involved building various big fires. And a Wickerman.
The site had a huge fire pit in the middle, with instructions to bring our own firewood, not to cut down trees and definitely not to burn the benches. From this I can deduce that previous visitors cut down trees and burnt the benches. Naughty! Between us we must have lugged down quite a lot of wood as we had enough to keep the fire burning from around 3pm to midnight Saturday and Sunday, as well as Sunday and Monday mornings for breakfasting.
While my buddy and I were nursing hangovers on Sunday morning (who knew that too much beer, bourbon and port on a dinner of Pot Noodle and hotdog would have such an adverse effect?) the ladies did a fire lighting class for the kids. Even Ned was able to gather kindling and start a fire with his fire striker, which gave him a great sense of achievement.
The kids all ran around pretty much incessantly for the whole time we were there, with remarkably few arguments and obviously no screen time whatsoever. Bliss!
The majority of the afternoon was spent building a Wickerman in true Summer Isle fashion. True, it wasn’t large enough to sacrifice a Scottish policeman in but it was almost 6ft tall. Construction was based on a wooden frame held together with gardening wire, with twigs and branches (all either brought with us or gathered from the ground) first tied and then loosely wired on. The end result, as you can see from the photos above, was pretty good. The only thing I think I’d do differently next time would be to light it a couple of hours later.
It was such good fun for a long weekend and something I can thoroughly recommend trying out. You don’t have to make a Wickerman to have fun (obviously) but it was a great project to do.